I work with many people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and one of the significant factors in their condition is that they are spending too much time alone, or working, and forgetting to make time to be with other people, to relax and have fun. This behaviour tends to become habitual, and then they feel too depressed to make the effort to go out, to contact friends and family and so they feel worse.
Research into Neuroscience has found that human beings really need social interaction for our health, both physical and mental. There are neural circuits in the brain that are only activated by positive contact with others, and if they are not activated, our health suffers.
When we do meet up with friends, and do things we enjoy, we produce serotonin, the feelgood hormone, and this will help us feel happy and lift our mood. Think about how often you see friends and family - are you doing things that get you out, having fun and socialising?
If you know someone who is depressed, help them to get out and be with other people, it will help them to feel better!
Are you planning to make changes that will make this year happier than last year? Maybe you want to get fitter, lose weight, give up an unhelpful habit, or just to feel more relaxed and to reduce anxiety and stress.
Maybe you have tried before, and not succeeded, and then gave up. This often happens for people, and it is usually because they don't understand how to change their thinking in order to change the way their brain works for them. We can get stuck with habits, and ways of thinking about what we can or can't do, so these thoughts get repeated, and so it can be hard to change.
One of the key facts about the brain that many of my clients find the most helpful to know is that the subconscious mind can't tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. It believes what you tell it. So it is important to tell it what you want it to hear, what you want it to know. Are you giving it a positive message about what you want - I can, I will, I could, I am going to.... Or are you being negative?
If you really want to achieve something new, keep giving yourself positive messages about it, tell yourself you can, even daydream about it - the brain loves a picture! The subconscious will believe it, pass the information to your conscious mind and then that part of the brain will come up with ideas and solutions for you to achieve what you want. This is how we create new habits, new ways of doing things, and then we lose the old ones.
Think positively. Act Positively. And interact positively with other people. These three things will help you to produce Serotonin which keeps you thinking positively about yourself and about life! You will feel good, and when you feel good you can do anything!
I am often asked to help people who have a phobia, that is, an extreme fear of something.
A phobia is an unhelpful response to a stimulus like going in an aeroplane, spiders, or heights. This can become embedded in the mind as the person consciously decides that this is a permanent problem, and something to be avoided.
The good news is that we can change this, and re-wire the brain to think differently about something that seemed impossible or unbearable.
Our brains are “plastic” which means we can change them, and increase their power, however old we are, by creating new neural pathways. At the same time we can delete the unhelpful neural pathways that we have set up over time. Neural pathways are numerous in our brain and they are our habits. An unhelpful habit can be deleted from the brain, we don't have to keep it!
In Hypnotherapy we use trance to relax people, so that their brain is able to process the changes they want to make, the goals they have decided they want to achieve. During trance we can delete the memory that has been responsible for the fear, and then replace with a memory that the client would have like to have had from the time. So, a scary feeling when going up a high building would be replaced by a positive memory of the event, one imagined by the person.
It is a simple process that works very successfully. Firstly I have to work with the client to reduce any general anxiety they have, and this is helped by them listening to my recording every night at home in bed during the treatment – usually four sessions. All my clients have to listen to this recording, it is an important part of the hypnotherapy process.
So, if you have a phobia that is making life difficult for you, that is stopping you from doing things you would like to do, then Hypnotherapy can help!
People often ask me what happens in Trance, what is it like?
When they come for hypnotherapy, some people are quite nervous about it, concerned that they might find themselves in a situation where they are not in control of what is happening. The only experience they may have had of hypnosis is what they see on television shows where people are hypnotised and seem not not to be in control of what they do. For the audience it is jolly good fun, and it is meant to be good entertainment. The participants have agreed to take part and a degree of self-hypnosis has been involved on their part.
However this is far from what happens in a session of Hypnotherapy! My primary aim is to help people to actively take control of their lives and emotions themselves, and to be able to do what they want to do. The point of hypnosis, or Trance, is to enable the client to be relaxed, so their brain can process what they have decided they want to do, to achieve. Trance is not an unusual state for us, we go into Trance often, when we are driving, watching TV, running, walking, it is those autopilot moments when we are doing something but not thinking about it consciously. The subconscious takes over and the conscious mind drifts off to think about something else for a while. When we are in that state we can talk directly to the subconscious, tell it what we want, and how we are going to do it. The subconscious then passes that information to the conscious mind that then helps us come up with ideas and solutions to help us achieve our goals. This state of relaxation is a light Trance, and the client is always in control of him/herself and they can hear what I am saying. It is the part of the Hypnotherapy session that my clients usually look forward to as they know they are going to lie back and relax, chill out and feel great afterwards!
The second part of every hypnotherapy session is the trance bit, where clients lie back comfortably, covered by a blanket. I suggest that they might like to visualise what they have decided to do to move towards their goal, and while I talk to them gentle music plays in the background. It is very similar to the recording they receive at their Initial Consultation, that they will be familiar with as they listen to it every night in bed as they go to sleep.
It is important to remember too, that we can all use trance for our benefit throughout the day, helping our brain process thoughts, feelings and ideas for us. Taking time out from our work for a while, having a daydream or two, a power nap of 20 minutes or so, these times really help us deal with things. Take that lunch break, have a coffee break, take your mind off work and think about something else!
Mindfulness meditation is perfect for this, we focus our thoughts on one thing, and this frees the brain mind up to do what it does so well - come up with ideas and solutions for us.
Really we could just call Trance Relaxation - that is all it is. Make time to relax, it is good for you and you will notice the difference in the way you manage life.